December 19, 2007

El Afilador de Cuchillos
Lima, Peru

El Afilador de Cuchillos—the sharpener of knives. I finally got him.

A few weeks ago I talked about the street vendors that roam the streets in this district of Lima, and how they were no longer as prevalent as they once were (with the exception of the ice-cream man's bicycle-driven-cart, which is never far away).

I was waiting for someone to sound the alert that the elusive knife sharpener had returned to our block, and when it happened, I was caught wearing just a pair of pajama pants.

I grabbed my camera, tossed on a shirt, and made my way to the street just in time to see him round the corner, tooting on some kind of pan flute.

I caught up with him, and looking like I just rolled out of bed (because I had), asked if I could snap a few photos. He obliged with a slightly confused smile, as the notion of some gringo asking to photograph his cart was probably the last thing he expected to have happen to him that day.

Here you can see a close-up of the stone that's spun to sharpen the knives people bring out to him:

On the way out the door I asked the Boza family if they had anything that needed to be sharpened, but it didn't sound like they did. I would've happily paid to see him do his trade in action, as I find his profession to be particularly interesting.

I look at how worn the wheel is of the cart, and wonder how long he's been using it. Maybe he's been a knife sharpener for decades. Maybe it was his father's cart. Maybe he's just borrowing a friend's to make some money. I look at this man, like I look at so many others every day, and just wonder…

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